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U.S. Department of Justice

09/09/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/09/2021 17:22

Former Florida Department of Corrections Officer Sentenced for Civil Rights Conspiracy to Assault Youthful Offenders

Former Florida Department of Corrections Officer Terrance Reynolds, 31, was sentenced yesterday to 33 months in prison and two years of supervised release. Reynolds was convicted following a fourteen-day trial for conspiring to assault youthful offender inmates at the South Florida Reception Center, a prison located in Doral, Florida. A second former officer previously pleaded guilty in this case and was sentenced in federal court.

Evidence presented at trial established that on March 27, 2017, Reynolds and former Sergeant Brendan Butler, 31, conspired to physically assault and intimidate youthful offender inmates for being disruptive and disrespectful earlier that morning. Reynolds and Butler then instructed three of the inmates to exit their housing unit and took them into a mop closet. Once inside the mop closet, Reynolds and Butler assaulted one of the inmates with a stick, causing him bodily injury, while the other two inmates stood nearby. The following day, Reynolds and Butler assaulted one of the other inmates to punish him for being disrespectful. Inmates may be classified as youthful offenders by a court or the Department of Corrections, and are generally twenty-four years old or younger. Butler previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the inmates' civil rights.

'Corrections officers who use unjustified force against inmates in their custody violate the Constitution, and the Justice Department will not tolerate that,' said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. 'We are committed to ensuring the safety of prisoners and prosecuting officers who break the public's trust in this way.'

'The corrections officer sentenced violated not only the Constitution, but also the public's trust,' said Acting U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez for the Southern District of Florida. 'Seeking justice for victims whose civil rights are violated by those in positions of power has always been, and will continue to be, a top priority of this office.'

'The actions of former corrections officer Terrance Reynolds are inexcusable and undercut the public's trust in our institutions and officials,' said Deputy Special Agent in Charge Denise M. Stemen of the FBI Miami Field Office. 'The FBI's Miami Area Corruption Task Force was assembled and designed to root out this type of reprehensible conduct. I commend the professionalism and hard work of the Florida Department of Corrections Office of the Inspector General and their close cooperation with FBI for this investigation.'

This case was investigated by the FBI's Miami Area Corruption Task Force and the Florida Department of Corrections Office of the Inspector General. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert Senior and Brian Dobbins of the Southern District of Florida and Special Litigation Counsel Samantha Trepel of the Civil Rights Division.